Disclaimer: I don't own xXx, other than the DVD. Observant readers will have realised that I put a name change for Rashka in the previous chapter, but Alex Rider is not a name I devised either, just in case you didn't know.
"Xander Cage and Rashka Keller?"
The speaker was female, petite, redheaded and Spanish, in a smart suit, and was followed by Gibbons and Toby, who was obviously trying not to drool over his new female object of affection. Another female that the MIT genius had no chance with, just like most other females. Unlike Rashka and Xander, Toby just had no idea of how to deal with females. Three years in an NSA basement designing gadgets hadn't helped much either. The guy was a geek. Like Bill Gates without the money.
Xander and Rashka had been stuck in this studio apartment for the last forty-eight hours. One bathroom, one kitchen, one room. A room barely big enough for the two camp beds and the television-playstation combination they'd been allowed to keep them from going crazy with cabin fever. For two men used to their freedom, it wasn't the best situation ever created. It was more than a little uncomfortable, especially now they were trying to fit five people in the one room, and two of those were dressed more like common thugs than NSA Agents. Unlike the dapper Gibbons, the smartly dressed Toby and the elegant Spaniard, Rashka and Xander were still in a mixture of military garb and street wear. Barefooted, Rashka flipped the game he was playing into pause mode.
Gibbons remained behind the woman, but made the introductions.
"X, Keller, meet Teresa Catalan," the scar-faced agent said, in that annoyingly smug tone he had when he knew he was revealing something new to somebody that they really wouldn't like. "Miss Catalan, I'd like to introduce Xander Cage, Rashka Keller and Toby Shavers."
"Toby Lee Shavers," Toby said, eagerly. If Gibbons hadn't been there, Rashka or Xander would have probably made some crack about exactly why it was that Toby couldn't get laid, but Teresa Catalan was worse. She didn't even look at Toby; she just turned and looked at Gibbons with something akin to disgusted disdain.
"This is the best you have?"
Her sneer was undisguised. Rashka shook his head, muttered a curse that was most definitely not in Spanish, and moved to pick up his controller again, but Gibbons turned the TV off at the mains. The nineteen year old's jaw was open as if to say something, but Xander was grinning too much for Rashka to give him the satisfaction of admitting Gibbons had ruined a near-perfect score.
"They're smart, adaptable, and sixty-seven per cent expendable," Gibbons said, undisturbed by Rashka's glare and Teresa's sneering. Xander replayed the sentence in his head and held up a hand.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," he said. "Sixty-seven per cent expendable? What, we can lose a limb or three, but we've got to keep our brains intact?"
"Now then X, we all know brains aren't your strong point," Gibbons said, sharply. "Toby's going with you. You have one week to make him into a soldier, then you'll be briefed."
"One week?! You have GOT to be kidding me!"